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Dubbed "the French Eminem," rapper Sinik was born Thomas Idir in Paris on June 26, 1980. Born to a family heralding from Algeria's mountainous Kabylie region, he survived a troubled youth marked by several prison stints by channeling his anger into hip-hop, and at age 14 befriended another aspiring rapper, Mélanie Georgiades, better known by her stage alias Diam's. In 1996 Idir co-founded the group L'Amalgave with friends Agoudjil Djamel, Oudjehih Anis, and Lalmi Tarek. Later renamed Ul'Team Atom, the lineup splintered after a series of mixtape appearances, and in 2000 the first solo Sinik release, the EP Malsain, followed on the 3.5.7 label. After co-founding his own Six o Nine label, Sinik issued the full-length Artiste Triste in 2003. The record proved a major underground hit, and in mid-2004 he signed to major label Warner Bros., which issued the double-platinum La Main sur le Coeur early the following year. The blockbuster Sang Froid hit retail in the spring of 2006. ~ Jason Ankeny